by Max Brantley
Congressman French Hill along with his Republican colleagues in the House yesterday voted 233 - 186 to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the agency that protects American consumers from the predatory interests of big banks and the financial industry. Hill, who is one of Wall Street’s greatest allies in Congress, has taken a whopping $1.4 million from industries regulated by the CFPB over his career.The business community in Arkansas has argued that the bill has restricted the ability of community banks to make loans.
“Congressman Hill is bought and paid for by his Wall Street donors. He’s kneecapping an agency that has returned billions of dollars to victims of fraud in order to protect the greed of big banks,” said Tiffany Muller, president and executive director of End Citizens United. “It’s a shameful display of Washington’s favorite pastime: pay-to-play. The 2018 elections are around the corner and ECU will make sure this is an election year issue. Congressman Hill will be held accountable.”
Hill's decision to side with his Big Money Wall Street donors will have serious consequences for his constituents. Gutting the CFPB will increase the ability of big banks to manipulate and abuse Arkansas consumers. In total, 3,400 Arkansans have sought help from the CFPB.
The CFPB, which grew out of the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, was designed to protect consumers from the abusive and predatory lending practices that helped create the Great Recession. Since its creation in 2011, the CFPB has provided nearly $12 billion in relief to more than 27 million consumers and has handled more than one million complaints. Most recently, the bureau gained national attention for fining Wells Fargo $100 million for opening unauthorized accounts on behalf of its customers.